News, nuggets and longreads 22 February 2020: Lovington, Liverpool, Low-alcohol

Here’s everything in writing about beer and pubs that made us sit up and pay attention in the past week, from crowdfunding to dinner plates.

First, some local news, from a local newspaper: whatever happened to those plans for a new Wild Beer Company brewery site that made a big splash with crowdfunding a couple of years back? For Bristol LiveRobin Murray writes:

Wild Beer co-founder Andrew Cooper told Bristol Live the funds raised went towards purchasing a defunct brewery in Lovington, Somerset, as well as equipment so the company could increase its brewing capacity… He added they are working on finding a ‘large investment partner’ to help fund the project and are in discussions with people, details of which cannot be revealed.

University drinking society in action.
SOURCE: Ferment.

For Ferment, the promotional magazine published by beer subscription service Beer52, Katie Mather has written about university beer societies and the drinking habits of young people:

As someone on the older end of the Millennial generation scale, it worries me how easy it is to slip into the same slurs I’ve heard my contemporaries use. Generation Z are nerds. They don’t drink — they’re too busy making memes about depression. They don’t socialise because they’re all introverts. We have nothing in common. Don’t fall for any of these statements. They simply are not true.

Kutna Hora
SOURCE: Pellicle.

For PellicleAdrian Tierney-Jones shares the story of a Czech brewery we’ve never heard of, Pivovar Kutná Hora, which was loved by locals, closed by Heineken, and after social pressure, has now been resurrected:

Kutná Hora’s brewmaster Jakub Hájek has been at the brewery since it produced its first batch of beer in February 2017. He’s a garrulous chap, open and generous in the way he and the owners (who also have Pivovar Břeclav, based in the southern Czech region of Moravia, in their portfolio) foresee the future, a progress that sees them slowly but surely building up trade in local bars and pubs as well as restoring the brewery.

Non alcoholic beer: 0,0

In this piece on drinking habits and the market for low- and no-alcohol beer, Jeff Alworth expresses the appeal, in theoretical terms at least, of non-alcoholic beers:

An ideal session to me is three or four beers. That’s the amount of time it takes for me to settle in and enjoy myself. The trouble is, my body very much wants a limit of two beers, and punishes me when I exceed it. I’ve found non-alcoholic beers to be a perfect solution; I just alternate boozy and alkoholfrei. As a bonus, I’m actually limiting the damage of the two regular beers because I’m hydrating in between.

A Liverpool pub.
SOURCE: Kirsty Walker.

Kirsty Walker of Lady Sinks the Booze works in Liverpool but, by her own admission, doesn’t get out to explore the suburbs much. With her new pal Vinnie, though, she’s been getting adventurous, and writes about a recent pub crawl with her usual wit:

Vinnie met me at the Brookhouse, a massive studenty place which specialises in cheap food and drinks deals. There were two different sections of bar which as usual led to me standing at the wrong one for a good while before someone pointed out that there was no service in this bit and ‘there should be a sign’. I had a pint of Blue Moon, and they apologised for not having orange for it. Not like the student pubs I used to frequent where asking for a clean glass was greeted with eyerolls and led to you being nicknamed ‘the Duchess’ for three years.

The Fox, Dalston

For New Statesman, not typically a hotbed of writing about beer and pubs, Eleanor Peake has investigated the trend for converting pubs into flats and the cost to communities:

Originally from Ireland, Joseph and Patrick Ryan started renting pubs in London in the mid-2010s. By 2017, the brothers rented the Bear in Camberwell, the Fox in Dalston and the White Hart in New Cross, all from the Wellington Pub Company… In 2017, they received the first call from the company informing them of redevelopments. They were told that the Bear in Camberwell would have to close its doors to make room for renovations, as the company wanted to turn the upper floors of the pub into private apartments.

And finally, from Twitter:

For more good reading, check out Alan McLeod’s round-up from Thursday.

2 replies on “News, nuggets and longreads 22 February 2020: Lovington, Liverpool, Low-alcohol”

I asked Wild about those shares at the time, specifically what was actually in it for investors. (They were marketing it specifically as an investment, not as a glorified fan club like “Equity for Punks’, so it seemed a reasonable question.) They told me

“as the business grows the shares go up in value. It’s a longish term investment”

Now it seems that they’ve spent the money they’d raised for a new brewery on something else; I wonder where that leaves them with regard to the original prospectus. Not only that, but to do the thing they were raising money for they’ll actually need a lot more money – so much more that they’ll need major VC investment. Which, if they get it, will presumably lead to the revaluation (downward!) of existing shares. Anyone who got into Wild as an investment might be well advised to get out, always assuming the shares were issued on terms that allows you to do that.

Shorter: money and fandom, like money and friendship, don’t mix.

Crowdfunding is just a trendy name for online begging from strangers gullible enough to believe the hype. Any ‘shares’ representing equity in a scheme like this are meaningless and can’t be cashed in – they’re more of a certification of gullibility.

Tradition funders such as banks, VC’s and business angels want to see a certain proportion of investment from those seeking investment, which generally takes the form of putting up their own cash or assets to prove their commitment and willingness to take on some of the risk. When the lenders realise that the self-funding element has actually come from crowdfunding like this and the dreamers are taking little or none of the risk, they’ll run a mile.

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